Giant hogweed is a herbaceous plant of the family Apiaceae. Its sap is photo-toxic, and it is considered an invasive species. It is an extremely dangerous plant that, when you come into contact with sap, can lead to bruises, burns and other skin conditions.
Giant hogweed is a very toxic plant, its sap releases a toxin that reacts very badly to sun exposure. When you are left with the sap of this plant on your hands, the area exposed to the sun will cause inflammation and burns on the skin.
By touching the sap, rashes and red itching appear first. Then, burn-like bubbles appear within 48 hours. They form black or purple scars that can stay on the skin for years.
According to Ask Prepper, “If you come in contact with the sap of the plant, you can expect severe blisters, possible blindness if it comes into contact with your eyes, and possible third-degree burns. These effects come from the type of chemicals it contains. When these chemicals come in contact with human skin, they dramatically increase the skin’s sensitivity to light. “
If ever, you have the bad luck to touch this plant, here are various measures to adopt:
The best way to protect yourself against this plant is to avoid it altogether. But, if you inadvertently come in contact with the liquid it releases, you will immediately need to take the following steps.
1- The hands and the rest of the body:
First of all, you must protect yourself from the sun, the toxic liquid contained in the plant acts under the action of the sun. The toxic reaction starts only from 15 minutes. But if you are in an open place and can not sleep anywhere, you should wash your hand with cold water and apply sunscreen.
Remove sap as quickly as possible, taking care not to spread the surface of the affected area: remove sap from the skin with absorbent paper without rubbing, then wash with soap, and rinse with water the affected area. .
2- The eyes:
In case the liquid comes in contact with your eyes, the same measures apply especially as for the hands. Rinse your eyes with cold water and make sure all the liquid has left your eyes. Then wear sunglasses to avoid the action of sunlight.
Control of giant hogweed:
1- Plants growing in isolation or covering a small area of land
– You can cut the root of the young plants with a round shovel well sharpened. Start at the beginning of spring and repeat the action every 2 weeks to deplete the plants.
– Repeat the cuts each year, for several years, to completely eliminate the plants.
– Use a rotating machine that mixes soil, such as a rototiller, to remove small, high density seedlings.
– You can cover the area with a geotextile web after having eliminated the plants when the colony is not too important and that the ground does not present too much constraints, in order to limit the regrowths.
2- Adult plants or covering large areas of land
– Make a cut about 15 cm from the ground.
– Repeat at least 2 to 3 times during the spring.
– Cut the root to a depth of about 20 cm below the soil surface. Use a sharp round shovel.
– Work the soil, for example by plowing it to a depth of about 24 cm. This will limit the regrowth of the plants.
– Dry the cut plants.
– If the plants carry seeds, avoid dispersing them.
– Destroy the umbels by placing them in sturdy and perfectly closed plastic bags. Leave the bags in the sun for at least a week.
– Do not compost any part of the plant.
– To prevent giant hogweed from invading your land again, you can plant new plants in the treated area. Choose preferably plants from your area that grow fast. Ask your local garden center.